Home of the Year Design Awards 2010

Announcing the winners of our first Home of the Year Contest! We put out the call to area architects, builders and designers asking for entries for our first Home of the Year contest. Submissions included big-budget and more modest private homes, condos, kitchens, baths—even green homes.

Then we asked our friends at the American Institute of Architects’ Baltimore Chapter to review the entries and select the honorees. Veteran jurors Charles Alexander of Alexander Design Studio and David Gleason of Gleason Architects served on the panel. Honorees include private residences, a green home, a suburban kitchen and a housing prototype. Sustainability, green building materials and open-concept floor plans are recurring design themes among the winners. The pictures tell the stories of these remarkable designs and hopefully will serve as inspiration for your next home project.

For a slideshow tour through all of the homes featured in this article, scroll to the bottom of the page.

2010 Home of the Year Contest sponsored by

Grand Design Award/Home of the Year
(Best New Custom Home Under $1 million)

Photography by Ed Massery
Photography by Ed Massery

Southside Courtyard House
studio d’ARC Architects, P.C.
Builder: Prime-1 Enterprises, Inc.
Landscape Designer: LaQuatra Bonci Associates

The owners of this award-winning home struggled with a decision many face. Long-time residents of the South Side, the professional couple toyed briefly with the idea of fleeing to the suburbs with their young family but decided instead to stay. So they purchased an industrial structure, a former turn-of-the-century tin shop and warehouse, just a few blocks away from the energetic buzz of East Carson Street.

Architects conceived the 90-year-old warehouse as “an urban courtyard house, a well-known architectural typology that has been used for centuries to provide the inhabitants with natural light, ventilation and refuge from the dense urban condition.”

A series of courtyards cut into the original footprint work to bathe the interior spaces in natural light. “The new residence pushes up past the existing walls,” explains the architect, “which allows for the double height living area and the second floor.”

Stepping through the entry court into the first-floor foyer, a hallway leads to the kitchen and dining area, (with a pantry and wine storage), an open living area and entertainment area, the living room court and covered patio and a guest suite with its own private court. The second story houses the master suite, children’s bedrooms, laundry and terraces.

Judges’ Comments:
“We found the dialogue between the old industrial shell and the new home to be both compelling and highly resolved. Consistent and restrained use of materials reinforced the all-over design ideas. Use of light and space was original and exciting. Also, we found there to be a seamless integration of the interior and exterior that energized a type-urban site."

Design Award
(Best Green Home)

Sponsored by AIA Pittsburgh


Tomasello Residence
Architect and Interior Designer: Bloomfield and Associates Architects
Builder: James Dunlap Construction
Landscape Designer: Alan Rader for Terra Design Studios
Structural/Electrical/HVAC: Mike Cenkmen

When Anthony Tomasello commissioned Bloomfield and Associates Architects to design a retirement home for him and his wife, Jan, he had very distinct goals for the project—environmentally, mechanically and aesthetically. An environmentally efficient homage to the Arts and Crafts design movement, the innovative residence is situated on five acres overlooking a picturesque valley in Sewickley Heights, and its conception and construction took many years.

The home incorporates radiant cooling and is believed to be one of the first private residences in the country to do so. Materials were locally sourced whenever possible. The architect estimates that, with the exception of the mechanical and electrical systems, close to 85 percent of the materials used were manufactured within a 100-mile radius, including millwork and flooring that came from on-site harvesting, stone from a nearby quarry, brick from a kiln just 30 miles away and the talents of commissioned local artisans.

“Orientation of the structure on the site was a key design consideration and yielded a substantially reduced summer solar gain while advantaging the view lines,” explains the owner. “The overall result is a project that is one with the site and environmentally efficient.”

Judges’ Comments:
“It is refreshing to see a large building project executed with imagination, restraint, and subtle and beautiful detailing. The same restraint belies the sophisticated energy and technical systems incorporated into the home. This home will clearly be here 100 years from now.”

Design Award
(Best Kitchen Design Over $50,000)


Suburban Kitchen and Beyond
Architect and Interior Designer: Mary Cerrone, AIA
Builder: Fisher Renovation
Casework and cabinets: Jerry Fink

Much of the main floor was gutted in this suburban home to transform a chopped-up, disjointed floor plan into flowing space where rooms unfold one to the next, leading to a sunny south-facing patio.

A white kitchen that was rather ordinary is now warmed by rich maple casing and trim, with an oak floor. Stylishly anchoring both the interior and exterior space, the kitchen features a gleaming stainless-steel island and built-in seating, a gathering spot for daily life as well as entertaining.

Previously, the family room and kitchen were closed off from one another, and access to the patio was routed through the laundry room. Bearing walls were replaced with beams, opening the family room and kitchen as a wall of new windows allows for greater views of the patio’s new facade, where a cedar trellis delivers a lattice of shadows on the ground.

Judges’ Comments:
“The palate of materials is consistent and warm. The re-organization of the floor plan allows for greater flow of space and interior views. This project is a wonderful example of how moderate design can completely transform a home.”

Honorable Mention
(Best New Custom Home Under $1 million)

Photography by Antonino Musmanno

Silver Top House
Architect: mossArchitects
Builder: Repal Construction Company, Inc.

Streets of the South Side Flats are lined with charming 19th Century row houses and are peppered with the shells of former industrial sites, like the Duquesne Brewery complex that sits next to this private residence designed for homeowners Jeff and Erin Catalina, transplants from Austin, Texas.

That setting created a challenge for the architect, who was charged with mediating between the two environments to create Silver Top House, named for the former brewery’s flagship lager as well as the corrugated metal siding used on the upper portion of the house, which complements an adjacent abandoned bridge that once connected the brewery’s bottling plant and shipping department.

Inside, the house is organized around a vertical multi-storied space with a wood and steel stair, illuminating the interior. The stair tower leads to a rooftop deck, complete with a doggie door and dog run to allow the couples’ beloved Dachshunds room to roam. Energy-efficient, environmentally friendly systems include recycled and recyclable materials, large windows for natural day lighting, a high-efficiency boiler, continuous spray foam insulation, and Lutron lighting controls. 

Judges’ Comments:
“The exterior massing transitions beautifully from an industrial context to the adjacent residential homes.”

Honorable Mention
(Best New Custom Home Under $1 million)

Photography by Pfaffmann + Associates and Catherine McConnell

East Liberty Development Inc., (ELDI) Housing Prototypes
Architect and Interior Designer: Pfaffmann + Associates
Builder: S&A Homes
Landscape Designer: Nowak Schooley
Developer: East Liberty Development, Inc.
Real Estate: Coldwell Banker

Euclid Avenue in East Liberty is a sidewalked street that is home to old brick Victorians and wood-framed, as well as empty lots where stately homes once stood. But with developer ELDI leading the revitalization of that neighborhood, these lots soon will be filled with homes like these prototypes, which are intended to be built as infill projects in existing neighborhoods and in new residential developments throughout the next 10 years.

Pfaffmann + Associates created both a rectangular and courtyard option for the project. The courtyard design features first-floor living spaces and a courtyard that can function together, providing private outdoor space. The rectangular design offers double-height living room space and an open loft-like floor plan. Both incorporate green design principles, such as spray foam insulation, instantaneous water heaters, and fluorescent lighting.

“The designs reflect the general massing, presence and quality of existing properties along the street using modern materials and construction techniques,” explains the architect.

Judges’ Comments:
“The exterior massing transitions beautifully from an industrial context to the adjacent residential homes.”

 Honorable Mention
(Best New Custom Home Over $1 million)

Photography by Craig Thompson Photography

Private Residence
Architect and Interior Designer: WTW Architects
Builder: Ed Cress Builder, LLC
Interior Designer: Abby Cunningham
Landscape Designer: Joseph Hajnas

This Prairie-style house nestled in a wooded grove is a private residence that sits at the edge of a serene lake. When WTW Architects were commissioned, their goal was “to have an organic design house that was sympathetic to its site and would present a unified whole, both inside and out.”

In keeping with that vision, they chose Maryland Ledge Rock for bearing walls so the structure could “grow” out of the site. Solar protection, light and privacy were accomplished through a low pitch roof with broad overhangs and narrow windows set back under eaves. Natural stained cedar and stone carry from the exterior to the interior, which features a beamed ceiling and the continuation of wood roof soffits.

Some of the environmentally friendly and energy-efficient features include an underground tank for rainwater that is used for lawn and plant irrigation, geothermal wells for heating and cooling, Energy-Star equipment and low-voltage controlled lighting.

Judges’ Comments:
“The central space in the house is the most complete space where detailing and planning achieve the highest cohesion. Use of materials and craftsmanship represent a high level of sophistication.”

Think you’re living in the 2011 Home of the Year? Sign up to receive more information on next year’s competition when it becomes available! 

Categories: From the Magazine, HOME + Design